Explore Plants

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 

Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

rate this answer
1 rating

Monday - January 06, 2014

From: Kyle, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Privacy Screening, Trees
Title: Natural privacy hedge for Kyle Texas
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I am looking to make a natural privacy screen in the Kyle Texas area. I am being pointed towards Leyland Cypress by some and told to shy away from this tree by others. I found Green Giant Arborvitae although it seems the growing area is not suited to this region. My points of interest are fast growing, ability to be trimmed into tall hedge type for adequate privacy and noise blocking. Any ideas? Thank you.

ANSWER:

Hesperotropsis leylandii (Leyland cypress), which has many synonyms (e.g., × Cuprocyparis leylandii, x Cupressocyparis leylandii, Callitropsis ×leylandii, × Neocupropsis leylandii) is a hybrid (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa – Monterey cypress × Callitropsis nootkatensis – Alaska cedar).   It is not a 'natural' hybrid because the native range of these plants is separated by some 400 or so miles.   It was hybridized in Wales where the two species (Monterey cypress and Alaska cedar) were transplanted and grew in close proximity.  So, even though the parent trees are North American natives, it isn't considered a native of North America.  True, it does grow fast and would form a thick hedge, but it has shallow roots which, with the fact that the range of its parent trees is the northern part of the west coast of North America, do not make it a good match for the hot Central Texas summers.  

Green Giant Arborvitae, Thuja (standishii x plicata), is also a hybrid—a cross between Thuja standishii (Japanese arborvitae), a native of Japan and Thuja plicata (Western red cedar), a native of the North American west coast from northern California to Alaska.  It is a fast grower, too, but again the native range of its two parent components would not recommend it for hot Texas summers.

There are two native evergreens, however, that are well-suited to the climate and soils of Central Texas:

  • Juniperus virginiana (Eastern red cedar)  There are several varieties that will readily form hedges and it is very tolerant of pruning.  Here is some information from Neil Sperry about planting them.  This species is more likely to be found in local nurseries than the following species.
  • Juniperus ashei (Ashe juniper)  Ashe juniper would also make a great hedge, but probably not as popular a choice as Eastern red cedar because of its reputation for producing allergies from its pollen.   In fact, both juniper species produce pollen that is an allergen to some people. Only the male trees, NOT the female trees, produce pollen but unless the trees are mature it won't be easy to tell the males from the females.

There are several other evergreen shrubs or small trees that can be used as hedges in the Central Texas area.   They won't be as dense as the two junipers but could be mixed together or with the junipers for an effective barrier.  Please read the species' page for information about its size and growing conditions.

Morella cerifera (Wax myrtle)

Rhus virens (Evergreen sumac)

Leucophyllum frutescens (Cenizo)

Sophora secundiflora (Texas mountain laurel)

Ilex vomitoria (Yaupon)

Prunus caroliniana (Cherry laurel)

Here is more about evergreen hedges for Texas from Neil Sperry's Gardens

 

From the Image Gallery


Eastern red cedar
Juniperus virginiana

Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

Evergreen sumac
Rhus virens

Texas mountain laurel
Sophora secundiflora

Cherry laurel
Prunus caroliniana

More Privacy Screening Questions

Need plant suggestions for a 700' long privacy screen in Wimberley, TX.
May 27, 2011 - I live in Wimberley. Tx Dot has ruined 700' of my side yard's (& back yard's) privacy by clearing all the plants/trees that had grown up in their right of way adjacent to our property. They're als...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy screen in Virginia
December 02, 2008 - Last year we lost a large pine that was part of privacy screen and we replaced it with two Eastern red cedars. There is still a substantial gap that won't be filled in by the cedars and we were cons...
view the full question and answer

Need a fast growing shrub to quickly create a 6' privacy screen in Magnolia, TX.
February 28, 2011 - Can you please recommend a fast-growing shrub to quickly create a 6' plus-tall privacy screen in an area with mottled shade along a north/south oriented wrought-iron fence? This is under a canopy of...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen replacement for bamboo in Redding CA
July 27, 2009 - We have just removed bamboo from our backyard and need to replace it with a plant that will give us the same type of privacy. What plant would you suggest to plant along a fence line that will surviv...
view the full question and answer

Evergreen for privacy screen in San Antonio
April 30, 2012 - I am looking to plant native fast-growing evergreens that will provide privacy (growing taller than our fence). We live in San Antonio and the Red Tip Photinia seems to be everywhere! I heard that t...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.